You’re sitting on the couch, waiting for your cat to come back from their adventure. You have butter on your fingers and you see them eyeing it. Your cat leaps onto your lap and starts licking up the butter that’s there. You laugh as they lick at it with their tiny tongue, wondering how they taste the buttered fingers.
Has something like that ever happened to you? What if your cat went on the counter and fully went at the butter? Would they be OK? In this article we’ll cover just that.
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Check For These Signs
Butter can cause certain problems in your cat if they eat a lot of it over time. If your cat has an allergy to lactose, then it may also have a serious reaction.
One of the first things you should check is if your cat is allergic to butter. Animal allergies are similar to humans in that they exhibit some of the same symptoms. You may notice that your cat is sneezing a lot after eating the butter.
Another sign of an allergy is if they lick their lips or rub their faces into the floor or against the furniture. This is an attempt to rid the allergen causing their lips and face to feel uncomfortable.
A severe allergic reaction may be vomiting, diarrhea, or being unable to breathe. If your cat exhibits these symptoms, then you may want to take them to the vet.
Another sign to determine if they’ve eaten too much butter is their blood sugar level. If they become extremely lethargic afterward, then they may have eaten too much butter. Their body is unable to process it.
Finally, you should check their weight. Eating too much butter can make them gain weight because butter is mostly made of fat.
There are a few problems that you may encounter if your cat eats a lot of butter. They include:
- Lactose intolerance
- Feline diabetes
Cats are lactose intolerant. When they’re kittens, they produce lactase. This enables them to break down lactose which they receive from their mother. Once they start to grow, they stop producing lactase. They’re no longer able to digest lactose.
Just like humans that face lactose intolerance, cats can exhibit distress if they eat a lot of it. Butter is rich in lactose. If your cat eats a lot of it, or has severe lactose intolerance, then they may vomit, have diarrhea, or be in discomfort.
A major risk of eating too much butter is obesity. Cats that remain indoors receive far less exercise than their outdoor counterparts. As a result, eating butter adds a lot of fat to their bodies without providing exercise to burn it off. Your cat may quickly become obese if they continue to eat butter.
That’s because the fat content in butter is high. There’s little else in butter save for fat.
Another serious concern is pancreatitis. The pancreas plays an important role in cats. It helps them digest food and it controls their blood sugar levels. When the pancreas isn’t working, those two systems can start to fail. Pancreatitis is a serious situation in which the pancreas stops working.
It can sometimes be caused by the consumption of fatty foods. If your cat eats a lot of butter, then it may develop pancreatitis. During this condition, the digestive enzymes that the pancreas produces don’t reach the digestive system. Instead, the enzymes start to consume the pancreas, itself.
This can become a lethal situation.
Feline diabetes may also be caused by a malfunctioning pancreas. The pancreas produces insulin. This messenger is necessary to bring glucose to cells. It gives the cells the energy they need to perform their processes. Without insulin, the body starts to fail.
There is no cure for feline diabetes. There are certain medications that can help keep your cat alive. Eating too much butter can increase your cat’s risk of developing feline diabetes.
What To Do
If your cat often eats butter, then the first thing you should do is stop giving them access to it. That might mean that you need to put the butter in a holder that requires human fingers to open.
You can also force your cat to vomit the butter up if it hasn’t been too late. However, this may cause some distress in your cat.
The best thing to do is ensure your cat can’t access butter in the future. You may also want to help stimulate their exercise levels to burn off the fat that they’ve consumed.
You may feel that switching the butter to a vegan butter brand can change things. It doesn’t. While vegan butter is a little healthier than butter made from dairy, it still contains a lot of fat. Both dairy and fat are risks for your cat.
Finally, you should determine if the cat is having an allergic reaction to the butter. If so, then you may want to give them some water to help wash it off. If the reaction is severe, then you may want to take them to a hospital or a vet.
Do I Need To See The Vet Or Go To The Emergency Animal Hospital?
In most cases, you don’t need to take your cat to the vet or the hospital. They may experience some vomiting or diarrhea for a day or two depending on how much butter they consumed.
Visiting your vet can give you tips on how to ease their stomach.
If your cat is overweight, already has diabetes, or displays a severe allergic reaction, then it may be worth taking them to the vet. Your vet can help you determine whether the butter has put them at risk for anything.
Safe Alternatives To Eat
One reason pet owners feed butter to their cats is that it can help with their hairballs. However, it’s too unhealthy. A safer alternative is to use medications specifically designed to help ease hairballs. They can often be trickled into their normal food.
Otherwise, it’s a better idea to stay away from butter altogether. It does little for their nutrition and only increases their chances of obesity and diabetes.
Can Cats Eat Butter?
Butter isn’t toxic to cats like onions are. However, the fat content of butter can lead to serious problems if they continue to eat butter throughout their lives. Another problem with butter is its dairy content.
Cats are unable to process and digest dairy. This can put them through gastro distress. Even vegan butter and other non-dairy butter can be problematic.